Back in April, we told you that developers were seeking a variance to replace Vesper Day Club in Northern Liberties with 20 townhomes. We also told you that the same group planned on building 16 more townhomes to the east of the Vesper site and also owned the historic church next door at Front and Allen Streets. No plans were released for the church at that time.
Well, since our last article, the ZBA granted the development team a variance for the first 20 townhomes and the site has been cleared for construction. It looks like the developers will be going back to the ZBA in January for the next 16 homes. And, now, we have some exciting news to share about the church.
Adaptive reuse plans were presented to the Philadelphia Historical Commission’s Architectural Committee that entail renovating the church, which was built in 1870, and the attached rectory, which was constructed in 1909. The plans call for 45 residential units within the existing structures. Two floors will be added within the envelope of the church. A new synthetic slate roof will be installed on the church along with dormer windows along the base of the roof line. New windows will replace non-original windows and the stained glass windows on the front of the church will be preserved.
The church and rectory are actually zoned for single family attached homes. However, since the property is designated to the local historic register, the development team should be able to pursue a multifamily adaptive reuse project here by-right. No permits have been issued for the project to date. However, it seems like the Architectural Committee had generally positive feedback for the project team. Hopefully, they will be able to proceed swiftly with their plans and save this distressed building.
We look forward to seeing homes added so close to the Market-Frankford Line and for a long-blighted corner to be re-energized
How do you feel about this plan? Would you like to live in an old church?
Kyle is a commercial real estate agent at Rittenhouse Realty Advisors, a homeowner, and a real estate investor in Philadelphia. Kyle uses his extensive Philadelphia real estate market knowledge to help his clients buy and sell multifamily investment properties, development opportunities, and industrial sites.
Email Kyle@RittenhouseRealty.com if you are looking to buy or sell a property